POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS – LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

Lent starts tomorrow, need I remind you, and I know there might be some uncertainty or confusion regarding the Church’s rules for fasting and abstinence – fasting and abstinence during Lent as well as the rest of the year.

Below, in a nutshell, are the fasting, etc. rules for Lent. I follow that paragraph with what the Code of Canon Law says about this, and then what the USCCB says.

In the meantime I hope you are having a splendid Mardi Gras as we prepare for leaner days to come!

POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given a wide-ranging interview to an Italian magazine run by homeless persons. The interview was published on 28 February in the online magazine called “Scarp de’ tenis” (“Sneakers”).

The magazine also functions as a social project, as most of the staff is homeless, suffers difficult personal situations or forms of social exclusion. For most contributors, the magazine is an important source of income. “Scarp de’ tenis” entered into partnership with the Italian arm of the Vatican’s charity organization, Caritas, in 2008.

In the interview, Pope Francis was asked to explain his recent initiatives for refugees, such as providing accommodation in the Vatican. In his reply, the Pope explained how the initiative to welcome the homeless had inspired parishes throughout Rome to join the effort.

“Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don’t have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year” he said.

Throughout the interview the Pope often referred to the idea of walking in each others shoes. According to the Pope, to walk in the other’s shoes is a way to escape our own egoism: “In the shoes of the other, we learn to have a great capacity for understanding, for getting to know difficult situations.”

The Pope maintains that words alone are not enough, what is needed, he said, is the “Greatness” to walk in the shoes of the other: “How often I have met a person who, after having searched for Christian comfort, be they a layman, a priest, a sister or a bishop, they tell me ‘they listened to me, but didn’t understand me.’”

During the interview, the Pope also joked about people’s attitudes concerning giving money to those who live on the streets. “There are many arguments which justify why we should not give these alms: ‘I give money and he just spends it on a glass of wine!’ A glass of wine is his only happiness in life!” joked Pope Francis.

There was also a lesson in generosity within the interview. The Pope told a story from his time in Buenos Aires, of a mother with five children. While the father was at work and the rest of the family ate lunch, a homeless man called in to ask for food. Rather than letting the children give away their father’s dinner for that evening, the mother taught the children to give away some of their own food: “If we wish to give, we must give what is ours!” insisted the Pope.

Regarding the question of limiting numbers of refugee and migrants who arrive in a particular place, the Pope first reminded his readers that many of those arriving are fleeing from war or hunger. All of us in this world, says the Pope, are part of this situation and need to find ways to help and benefit those around us. According to him, this responsibility is especially true of governments and the Pope used the example of the work of the Saint Egidio community (that has established humanitarian corridors for groups of vulnerable migrants) in order to make his point. Regarding the 13 refugees who arrived from Lesbos, the Pope pointed out that the families have integrated well into society, with the children being enrolled in schools and their parents having found work. This, according to Pope Francis, is an example of immigrants wanting to fit into and contribute to a new country, and achieving that desire.

To further underline his point, the Pope highlighted the case of Sweden, where almost 10% of the population, including the Minister for Culture, are immigrants. During his own life, in the difficult years of the military dictatorship in Argentina, the Pope often looked to the Swedish as a positive example of integration.

LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

The basic rules: Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Every person between the age of 18 and 59 (beginning of 60th year) must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (image St Michael Catholic Church, Bedford TX)

lent-image

Here is what the 1983 Code of Canon Law says about fasting and abstinence: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4O.HTM

Days of Penance

Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

cacon-1250

Can.  1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can.  1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can.  1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

(JFL: Note that Canon law in 1251 says: “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.” It is my experience that the majority of Catholics do not know this, i.e. abstinence from meat or another food or an act of penance on all Fridays of the year.) Canon 1253, however, gives leeway on this via the Episcopal Conference of a country (see below).

USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):  PASTORAL STATEMENT ON FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

A Statement Issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops November 18, 1966

Here is part of that statement:

21.  For these and related reasons, the Catholic bishops of the United States, far from downgrading the traditional penitential observance of Friday, and motivated precisely by the desire to give the spirit of penance greater vitality, especially on Fridays, the day that Jesus died, urge our Catholic people henceforth to be guided by the following norms.

22.  Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified.

23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.

24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:

  1. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became,especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church.
  2. We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.
  1. Every Catholic Christian understands that the fast and abstinence regulations admit of change, unlike the commandments and precepts of that unchanging divine moral law which the Church must today and always defend as immutable. This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation traditionally binding under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent. We stress this so that “no” scrupulosity will enter into examinations of conscience, confessions, or personal decisions on this point.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/us-bishops-pastoral-statement-on-penance-and-abstinence.cfm

 

CIVILTA CATTOLICA MARKS 4000TH EDITION, FEATURES PAPAL Q&A WITH SUPERIORS GENERAL – BRIEF TAKES FOR THURSDAY….

CIVILTA CATTOLICA MARKS 4000TH EDITION, FEATURES PAPAL Q&A WITH SUPERIORS GENERAL

Pope Francis had a really busy Thursday as he met with Jesuits who write for the Civiltà Cattolicà magazine, currently celebrating its 4000th edition, addressed the plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and met with a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League.

Corriere della Sera published an English translation of Fr. Antonio Spadaro’s account of a three-hour meeting and Q&A session that Pope Francis held last November 25th with 140 superiors general of male reliigious congregations. That conversation was published in edition No. 4,000 of Civilta Cattolica, whose editor is Fr. Anttonio Spadaro: http://www.corriere.it/english/17_febbraio_09/pope-francis-there-is-corruption-the-vatican-but-m-at-peace-5f115a68-eeaa-11e6-b691-ec49635e90c8.shtml

In his Thursday meeting with writers of Civilta Cattolica the Pope reflected at length on the importance of poetry, art and pioneering intellectual research, as the magazine seeks to build bridges with many peoples and cultures. Civilta Cattolica was founded in 1850 and originally available only in Italian. It is now adding editions in English, French, Spanish and Korean. Francis also sent the review a hand-signed note. Saying a copy of the magazine “if often on my desk,” he described its history as a boat’s voyage on the open seas, saying writers must never to be afraid of the storms, but proceed courageously, guided by the Spirit, into uncharted waters.

BRIEF TAKES FOR THURSDAY….

POPE FRANCIS ENCOURAGED THE DELEGATION FROM THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE to cultivate justice and foster accord, saying “the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation.” The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,”

IN HIS REMARKS TO THE CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION as they meet in plenary session, the Holy Father urged all those involved in Catholic education to be builders of a more united and peaceful world, especially when educating the younger generations. Educational institutes have meaning only in relation to the formation of the person, he stressed. Another of your prime missions, he said, is to offer horizons that are open to transcendence. Francis also stressed the need for a culture of dialogue, saying our world has become a global village in which each person belongs to humanity and shares in the hope for a better future for the whole family of nations.

THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES has issued a statement following its summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism which was held in Rome this week. In it the participants resolve “to combat these crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world.”… We, the undersigned participants of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Summit on Organ Trafficking,  resolve to combat these  crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world.

Poverty, unemployment, and the lack of socioeconomic opportunities are factors that make persons vulnerable to organ trafficking and human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal.  Destitute individuals are victimized  in schemes of organ trafficking  when induced to sell their organs in a desperate search for a better life. Similarly, desperate are the patients who are willing to pay large amounts and travel to foreign destinations as transplant tourists to obtain an organ that may keep them alive— oblivious of the short and long-term health  consequences  of  commercial  transplantation.  Unscrupulous  brokers  and  health  care  professionals  make  organ  trafficking possible,  disregarding the dignity  of human beings. FOR FULL STATEMENT: http://www.news.va/en/news/vatican-organ-trafficking-summit-issues-statement

POPE FRANCIS GRANTS PRE-TRIP INTERVIEW TO JESUIT JOURNAL

POPE FRANCIS GRANTS PRE-TRIP INTERVIEW TO JESUIT JOURNAL

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called making war in the name of religion “satanic” and a “blasphemy.”

His words came in an interview with the Jesuit Catholic journal La Civilta Cattolica ahead of his ecumenical apostolic trip to Sweden. The interview was conducted by Father Ulf Jonsson S.J., the director of the Swedish cultural journal of the Jesuits, Signum.

Pope Francis mentioned the recent interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi, which he called “very important.”

“All of us talked of peace and we asked for peace,” – the Pope said – “ We together said strong words for  peace, what the religions truly want.”

When asked about the suffering of the Christians in the Middle East, Pope Francis called the region “a land of martyrs.”

“I believe that the Lord does not leave his people on their own,” said the Holy Father. “He will not abandon them. When we read of the hard trials of the people of Israel in the Bible or remember the trials of the martyrs, we see how the Lord always comes to the aid of his people.”

The purpose of the trip to Sweden is to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and much of the discussion in the interview covered ecumenical affairs.

Speaking about the mutual enrichment possible between Christian communities, the Pope was asked what Catholics could learn from Lutherans.

“Two  words  come  to  my  mind:  ‘reform’ and  ‘Scripture’,” – Pope Francis said – “I will try to explain. The first is the word ‘reform’.  At the beginning, Luther’s was a gesture of reform in a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to remedy a complex situation.  Then this gesture —also  because  of  the  political  situations,  we  think  also  of  the cuius  regio  eius religio (whose realm , his religion) —became a ‘state’ of separation, and not a process of reform of the whole Church, which is fundamental,  because the Church is semper reformanda (always  reforming).”

“The second  word  is  ‘Scripture’,  the  Word  of  God,” – the Pope continued – “Luther took a great step by putting the Word of God into the hands of the people. Reform and Scripture are two things that we can deepen by looking at the Lutheran tradition. The General  Congregations  before  the  Conclave comes  to  mind and how the request for a reform was alive in our discussions.”

The Holy Father was later asked about how the ecumenical movement can move forward. He responded by saying “theological dialogue must continue,” and pointing to the Joint Declaration on Justification as an important point, but added “it will not be easy to go forward because of the different ways of understanding some  theological questions.”

“Personally, I believe that enthusiasm must shift towards common prayer and the works of mercy — work done together to help the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned,” – Pope Francis said – “To do  something  together is a high and effective form of dialogue.   I also think about education.  It is important to work together and not in a sectarian way. There is a policy we should have clear in every case: to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin.”

The full text of the interview can be found on the website of La Civiltà Cattolica here: http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/articoli_download/extra/Interview_with_PF.pdf

THE DEVIL HAS TWO WEAPONS, SAYS FRANCIS, “DIVISION AND MONEY” – VATICAN RELEASES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO SWEDEN – “LAST CONVERSATIONS” BY POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT DEBUTS TODAY

Join me this weekend on VATICAN INSIDER for Part II of my conversation with Fr. Brian Kolodeijchuk, MC, the postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization. He has, of course, terrific insight and wonderful stories about this nun who was larger than life for everyone who came into contact with her. This is the end of an amazing week in Rome that began with the canonization of Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calutta but still ‘Mother Teresa’ to so many around the world who knew and loved this miniscule woman who was a giant of integrity and sanctity.

20160322_093547

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which Pope died after 12 days in office?

(Remember, do NOT email me – just enjoy!)

THE DEVIL HAS TWO WEAPONS, SAYS FRANCIS, “DIVISION AND MONEY”

Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday told bishops that division, gossip and money are weapons in the hands of the devil.

Speaking to a group of recently appointed bishops of mission countries at the end of a formation course organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pope said each bishop is called to give testimony of God’s love, care and mercy with their own lives and example. (photo: news.va)

mission-bishops

Pointing out that bishops of mission countries come from places that are “different and distant”, each of you – Pope Francis said – has “the great privilege and responsibility of being on the front lines of evangelization”.

Inviting them never to forget that one of their foremost duties is to respond immediately to the requests and needs of their priests, the Pope warned them against the evils that can wreak damage and destroy their mission to evangelize.

He reminded them that a missionary bishop’s first duty as a pastor is to reach out to the lost sheep and to bring the joy of the gospel to those who perhaps do not know Jesus or have rejected him.

He spoke of the vocation of the episcopal ministry saying that each bishop is called give testimony of Jesus’s care and love for all men and women also through their own personal example.

And he warned of the dangers that can foil this vocation mentioning specifically the factors that – he said – become weapons in the hands of the devil bent on destroying the Church.

“The devil – he said – has two weapons: the main one is division; the other is money”.

And saying that the devil slips in through one’s pockets and wreaks havoc through ‘the tongue’, Pope Francis described the tendency to gossip as “a terroristic” one.

“He who gossips is a terrorist who throws a bomb” – because gossip, he said, destroys.

Urging those present to fight against divisions which can destroy the local Church and the universal Church, he said there are many difficult challenges to overcome, but thanks to the grace of God, thanks to prayer and thanks to penitence, it is possible.

Pope Francis concluded his address to the new missionary bishops urging them to take good care of the people of God who have been entrusted to them, to take good care of their priests, and of their seminarians. “This – he said – is your job”.

VATICAN RELEASES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO SWEDEN

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday released details of Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden at the end of October to mark the joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Pope is scheduled to leave from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 8.20 on the morning on Monday October 31st and arrive in the southern Swedish city of Malmö at 11.00.

Following an official welcome, the Pope will travel to the nearby city of Lund and pay a courtesy visit to the Swedish royal family before leading an ecumenical prayer service with Lutheran leaders in Lund cathedral.

In the afternoon the Pope will take part in a second ecumenical event in Malmö arena and meet with delegations of different Christian Churches present for the occasion.

The following morning, Tuesday November 1st, the Pope will preside at Mass in Malmö  for the Swedish Catholic community before travelling back to the international airport there for an official departure ceremony.

The papal plane is scheduled to leave Malmö at 12.45 and arrive back at Rome’s Ciampino airport at 15.30.

“LAST CONVERSATIONS” BY POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT DEBUTS TODAY

(Vatican Radio) A new book of interviews by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hit bookshelves Friday in the Italian language. The book entitled “The Last Conversations”, by German journalist Peter Seewald covers a number of themes including his decision to resign.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, former head of Vatican Radio and president of the Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI ) Foundation, spoke to the radio’s Lydia O’Kane about some of the key themes.

Scroll down in this link to listen:  http://www.news.va/en/news/fr-lombardi-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvis-new-book-a

For Fr. Lombardi there are two very important aspects of this book. The first he says, is the witness Pope Emeritus Benedict gives as he lives this last phase of his life. “The last time of his life is preparation to (for) the encounter with God. This is a very important witness, profound, spiritual; a witness of faith.”

Fr Lombardi goes on to say that this theme “justifies this book”, because his explanation of “how he experiences now the presence of God in his life is something that is precious and urgent…”

Theme of resignation

Another key theme, says Fr. Lombardi, is “how he gives again clearly – and I think in a definitive way – the reasons for his resignation, eliminating every rumor, every false interpretation as consequence of the scandals of the difficulties.”

“No,” (Benedict) says no, “it was a time I had already overcome the difficulties and then there was the good time to take a decision before God in total responsibility and this I have done and I am happy with this decision and I have not changed my mind.””

Recalling other interesting themes and points in the book, Fr. Lombardi mentions Pope Benedict’s reflections on his participation at the Second Vatican Council, and his collaboration with St John Paul II.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “The Last Conversations” is published worldwide in Italian September 9th. It is due in English in November. The title is “Last Testament: In His Own Words.”

CNA/EWTN NEWS, in an article dated today, September 9, wrote:

Though he has rarely spoken since resigning from the papacy, Benedict XVI granted several lengthy interviews to German journalist Peter Seewald shortly after stepping down – conversations that touched on themes such as the reform of the Curia, his resignation and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

The interviews, conducted a few months after Benedict’s Feb. 28, 2013, resignation, were released as a book in several languages Sept. 9. The English language version, Last Testament, is due to be published in November.

About 240 pages in length, the book in German is titled Letzte Gespräche. It “touches upon all the most important stages of life of Joseph Ratzinger.”

These stages include Benedict’s childhood under the Nazi regime, the discovery of his vocation to the priesthood, the hardships of the war and his time in the Vatican until his election to the papacy. It also covers “the anxiety” of his first few days as successor of St. Peter, as well as his “painful” decision to resign and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

n his responses to Seewald, Benedict speaks about himself, his faith, his weaknesses, his private life, the scandals and controversial issues of his reign, and his papacy in general, explaining the reason for his choice to resign – “initially only communicated to a few trusted people to avoid leaks,” Corriere della Sera reports.

The retired Pope also speaks about the reform of the Roman Curia, the “Vatileaks” scandal that many pinned as the reason for his stepping-down, and outlines the differences between him and Francis in light of “his own peculiarities” and those of his Argentine successor.

He also mentions the “gay lobby” at the Vatican – a group of four to five persons, which he says he was able to break up.

In a June 28 ceremony at the Vatican marking his 65th anniversary as a priest, Benedict told Pope Francis that from the moment of his election and every day since “your goodness…moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens.”

“Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected,” he said of his successor.

Seewald, the author of the new book, is also the author of the 2010 book-length interview with Benedict titled “Light of the Word: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” He had previously published two other books on then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ““Final Conversations,” then, will mark the journalist’s fourth book on Benedict from before his election to the throne of Peter, during his papacy and now after his resignation.

CNA contacted Seewald for comment on the book, however, the author said that for the moment, he prefers not to speak.   In an interview with CNA when “Light of the World” came out in 2010, Seewald said Benedict “is one of the greatest minds of the Catholic Church; someone with a great heart and…a fighter by nature, someone who remains standing amidst the storms, someone who is not afraid.”

“He is someone who does not get stuck in the past or in the present. He is someone who is very much a part of our times,” Seewald said, adding that he has always considered Benedict “a very modern man, someone who is always accessible, who promotes and seeks dialogue.”

“I would say he is an upright man and by far one of the greatest figures of our time…he is man who is always willing to listen, because he is not only a great thinker, he is also a great spiritual teacher.”

In a world that is “often blind,” it’s important to have someone “with this unbreakable attitude of openness,” he said, voicing his belief that Benedict “will be much better appreciated in the future” than he was at that time.

This article was originally published July 1, 2016.

HOME, SWEET ROME! – POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

HOME, SWEET ROME!

I am safely and happily back in Rome, luggage and all, after a very busy and very wonderful, fulfilling book-signing visit to New York and Washington, D.C. Each of the days I was gone was filled with great joy, a lot of reminiscing and much laughter! I’ve unpacked, rested a bit and spent the afternoon looking at email and catching up on Vatican news, including the papal interview you will find below.

In coming hours and days, as I do after every trip, I will find myself thinking back to all the encounters I had in NYC and DC – the book signings, the many fabulous meals, sharing First Communions, birthdays and even a college graduation this past Sunday. I will think about all the friends I saw, the new friends I made, the joy of meeting readers of this column and fans of “Joan’s Rome”! Just terrific!

Foremost in my mind is the superlative AHN (Academy of the Holy Names) dinner in Maryland where a former French teacher – Mlle Lewis! – met with a number of her students after 50 years! Tomorrow that story and pix!

I updated yesterday’s blog, “ENCOUNTERS….” that was missing a photo of one of those encounters, a young waitress named Jazminne, and I reposted that column on FB. Here is the missing photo:

001_1

PAPAL TWEETS:

May 16: The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed in abundance so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity.

May 17: The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.

POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

Pope Francis has given an exclusive interview to the French Catholic La Croix newspaper. In the broad-ranging conversation with journalists Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard for La Croix, Pope Francis discussed matters ranging from healthy secularism and the right way to understand and live according to the Church’s universal missionary mandate, to the idea of Europe in relation to the migration crisis and the possibility of peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians.

He also addressed the clergy sex abuse crisis, offering considerations about an ongoing investigation – widely covered in France – involving the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, whose handling of the case of one pedophile priest in particular has been subject to scrutiny and criticism.

“It is true that it is not easy to judge the facts after decades, in another context,” said Pope Francis. Nevertheless, “For the Church in this area, there can be no statute of limitations: for these abuses, a priest who is called to lead people to God destroys a child. He spreads evil, resentment, pain. As Benedict XVI said, tolerance must be zero.”

Speaking to the specific case of Cardinal Barbarin, Pope Francis said, “Based on the information I have, I think that, at Lyon, Cardinal Barbarin has taken the necessary measures, he has taken things in hand.” The Holy Father went on to describe Cardinal Barbarin, saying, “He is a courageous man, a creative man, a missionary.” The Pope added, “We must now wait for the result of the process.”

Asked specifically and explicitly about whether he thinks Cardinal Barbarin ought to resign, Pope Francis answered, “No, that would be a contradiction, an imprudence. We shall see after the conclusion of the trial. But now it would be tantamount to his calling himself culpable.”

The Holy Father spoke of the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in France, which he described as, “The eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful.” After a brief moment of laughter, the Holy Father added, “In the 1950s, France was called a ‘mission country’. In this sense, it is a periphery to evangelize. To be fair with France:  the Church there has a creative capacity all its own. France is also a land of great saints, great thinkers: Jean Guitton, Maurice Blondel, Emmanuel Levinas – who was not Catholic – Jacques Maritain. I also think the depth of literature.

I also like how French culture has permeated Jesuit spirituality in relation to the more ascetic Spanish current. The French current, which began with [St.] Peter Faber, while still insisting on the discernment of the mind, gives another flavor, with the great French spiritual figure, Louis Lallemant, Jean Pierre de Caussade – and with the great French Jesuit theologians, who helped the Society of Jesus so much: Henri de Lubac and Michel de Certeau. These last two I like a lot: two Jesuits who are creative. In short, this is what fascinates me with France. On the one hand, the exaggerated secularism, the legacy of the French Revolution and on the other, so many great saints.”

Asked which French saint is his favorite, Pope Francis offered, “St. Therese of Lisieux.”

His interviewers inquired after any concrete plans to visit France. “I received President François Hollande’s letter of invitation a short while ago. The Bishops’ Conference also invited me. I do not know when this trip will be, because next of year’s election in France and, in general, the Holy See’s practice is not to make such a trip in such a period. Last year, some hypotheses began to be formulated for such a trip, including a visit to Paris and its suburbs, to Lourdes, to a city where no pope visited – Marseille for example – which represents an open door to the world.”

The Holy Father also responded to a query regarding the shortage of priests. “Korea offers an historical example,” he said. “That country was evangelized by missionaries from China, from whose work the faith spread there. Then, for two centuries, Korea was evangelized by laymen. It is a land of saints and martyrs today with a strong Church. To evangelize, there need not necessarily be priests. Baptism gives strength to evangelize – and the Holy Spirit received in Baptism grows outward, to carry the Christian message with courage and patience. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church, the Church’s engine. Too many Christians do not know this. In contrast, a danger to the Church is clericalism: it is a sin that takes two to commit, like the tango. The priests want to ‘clericalize’ the laity and the laity demand to be clericalized, for the sake of ease. In Buenos Aires, I knew many good priests who, seeing a capable layman, immediately exclaimed, ‘Let’s make a deacon!’ No, let him remain a layman. Clericalism is important particularly in Latin America. If popular piety there is strong, it is precisely because it is the initiative of the laity on their own, and not a clerical thing. It remains misunderstood by the clergy.”

Another major focus of the conversation was the migration crisis. Asked whether he thinks Europe really can accommodate the numbers of migrants seeking refuge within her borders, the Holy Father said, “That is a fair and responsible question because we cannot open the doors irrationally – but the basic question to ask is why there are so many migrants today.”

The Pope went on to say, “The problem started with the wars in the Middle East and Africa and with the underdevelopment of the African continent, causing hunger: if there is war, it is because there are arms manufacturers – which can be justified for defense – [but the problem is] especially [with] arms traffickers. If there is so much unemployment, it is because of the lack of investment that can provide work, such as Africa so desperately needs.

“This raises the broader issue of a global economic system fallen into an idolatry of money. Over 80% of the wealth of humanity is in the hands of about 16% of the population. A completely free market does not work. The market itself is a good thing but it takes a fulcrum, a third party, the state, to control and balance it: what we call the social market economy.

“Returning to migrants: the worst [kind of] reception is ghettoization. Migrants must rather be integrated. In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, the children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto. In London, the new mayor [a Muslim of Pakistani origin, Sadiq Khan] was sworn in in a cathedral and will probably be received by the Queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate. I think of Gregory the Great, who negotiated with the so-called barbarians, who are then integrated.

“This integration is even more necessary today, as Europe is experiencing a serious problem of low birth rate, due to a selfish search for well-being. A demographic vacuum develops. In France, however, thanks to family policy, this trend is mitigated.

The Pope’s interviewers then asked whether the fear of welcoming migrants is perhaps fed in part by a fear of Islam, and whether the Holy Father considers such fear justified. In answer, Pope Francis said, “I do not think there is now a fear of Islam, as such, but of Daesh [the so-called ‘Islamic State’] and its war of conquest, driven in part by Islam. The idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam, it is true. But it could be interpreted with the same idea of conquest, [found at] the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples in all nations.

“Faced with the current Islamic terrorism, we should question the way in which too Western a model of democracy was exported to countries where there was a strong power, such as in Iraq. Or in Libya, [with its] tribal structure. We cannot move forward without considering that culture. As one Libyan said some time ago: ‘We used to have Gaddafi, now we have 50 [of him]!’

“Deep down, coexistence between Christians and Muslims is possible. I come from a country in which they live together in good familiarity. Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary and St. George. In an African country, it was reported to me that for the Jubilee of mercy, Muslims stand in long queues at the Cathedral to go through the Holy Door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In the Central African Republic, before the war, Christians and Muslims lived together and must learn to do so again today. Lebanon also shows that it is possible.”

(Click here for interview: http://www.la-croix.com/Religion/Pape/INTERVIEW-Pope-Francis-2016-05-17-1200760633)

“THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY”

“THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY”

(Vatican Radio)  “The Name of God is Mercy” is the title of a new book set to be released in 86 countries on Tuesday (12 Jan), in which Pope Francis reveals his vision of God’s mercy in a series of interviews with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli.

Several extracts were made available by the publisher, Piemme, ahead of its official release.

The pope, like Peter, is in need of mercy

“The Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God,” the Holy Father says in the book-length interview.

“I said it sincerely to the prisoners of Palmasola, in Bolivia, to those men and women who welcomed me so warmly. I reminded them that even Saint Peter and Saint Paul had been prisoners. I have a special relationship with people in prisons, deprived of their freedom. I have always been very attached to them, precisely because of my awareness of being a sinner.”

“Every time I go through the gates into a prison to celebrate Mass or for a visit, I always think: why them and not me? I should be here. I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I do not feel superior to the people who stand before me. And so I repeat and pray: why him and not me? It might seem shocking, but I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen.”

Pope John Paul I: ‘engraved in dust’

The Holy Father also remembers being touched by the writings of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani. “There is the homily when Albino Luciani said he had been chosen because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained, it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God’s. He, the bishop and future Pope John Paul I, called himself ‘dust’.”

“I have to say that when I speak of this, I always think of what Peter told Jesus on the Sunday of his resurrection, when he met him on his own, a meeting hinted at in the Gospel of Luke. What might Peter have said to the Messiah upon his resurrection from the tomb? Might he have said that he felt like a sinner? He must have thought of his betrayal, of what had happened a few days earlier when he pretended three times not to recognise Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He must have thought of his bitter and public tears.”

“If Peter did all of that, if the gospels describe his sin and denials to us, and if despite all this Jesus said [to him], ‘tend my sheep’ (John 21), I don’t think we should be surprised if his successors describe themselves as sinners. It is nothing new.”

Miserando atque eligendo

Telling the story of his episcopal motto, Pope Francis returns to an experience of God’s mercy, which took place in his teenage years.

“I don’t have any particular memories of mercy as a young child. But I do as a young man. I think of Father Carlos Duarte Ibarra, the confessor I met in my parish church on September 21, 1953, the day the Church celebrated Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist. I was seventeen years old. On confessing myself to him, I felt welcomed by the mercy of God.”

“Ibarra was originally from Corrientes but was in Buenos Aires to receive treatment for leukaemia. He died the following year. I still remember how when I got home, after his funeral and burial, I felt as though I had been abandoned. And I cried a lot that night, really a lot, and hid in my room.”

“Why? Because I had lost a person who helped me feel the mercy of God, that miserando atque eligendo, an expression I didn’t know at the time but I eventually would choose as my episcopal motto. I learned about it later, in the homilies of the English monk, the Venerable Bede [672-735]. When describing the calling of Matthew, he writes: “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him, ‘follow me’.”

“This is the translation commonly given for the words of Saint Bede [originally written in Latin]. I like to translate “miserando” with another gerund that doesn’t exist: misericordando or mercying. So, “mercying him and choosing him” describes the vision of Jesus who gives the gift of mercy and chooses, and takes with him.”

Church condemns sin, shows mercy to sinner

“The Church condemns sin because it has to relay the truth: ‘this is a sin’. But at the same time, it embraces the sinner who recognises himself as such, it welcomes him, it speaks to him of the infinite mercy of God. Jesus forgave even those who crucified and scorned him.”

“To follow the way of the Lord, the Church is called on to dispense its mercy over all those who recognise themselves as sinners, who assume responsibility for the evil they have committed, and who feel in need of forgiveness. The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.”

“I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope. I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this “Church that goes forth”. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.”

“It is a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist. I hope that the Jubilee [The Holy Year of Mercy] will serve to reveal the Church’s deeply maternal and merciful side, a Church that goes forth toward those who are “wounded,” who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness, and love.”

Mercy yes, corruption no

Pope Francis goes on to point out the difference between sin and corruption, saying the corrupt man lacks the humility to recognise his sins.

“Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognised as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviours.”

“Jesus says to his disciples: even if your brother offends you seven times a day, and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous.”

“The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life. We must not accept the state of corruption as if it were just another sin. Even though corruption is often identified with sin, in fact they are two distinct realities, albeit interconnected.”

“Sin, especially if repeated, can lead to corruption, not quantitatively — in the sense that a certain number of sins makes a person corrupt — but rather qualitatively: habits are formed that limit one’s capacity for love and create a false sense of self-sufficiency.”

“The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it any more. We don’t become corrupt people overnight. It is a long, slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One may be a great sinner and never fall into corruption if hearts feel their own weakness. That small opening allows the strength of God to enter.”

“When a sinner recognises himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”

 

MAY THE JUBILEE OF MERCY PRODUCE A “REVOLUTION OF TENDERNESS” – OPENING OF HOLY DOOR TO BE BROADCAST IN “TOTAL IMMERSION” ULTRA HD

MAY THE JUBILEE OF MERCY PRODUCE A “REVOLUTION OF TENDERNESS”

(VIS) – The Italian magazine “Credere” today published an interview with Pope Francis ahead of the imminent opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, in which the Holy Father explains the motives and expectations of this convocation. “Credere” – Believing – is a popular magazine in Italy about faith and the official magazine of the Jubilee of Mercy.

CREDERE

Following are extensive extracts from the interview:

“The theme of mercy has been strongly accentuated in the life of the Church, starting with Pope Paul VI. John Paul II underlined it firmly with Dives in Misericordia, the canonization of St. Faustina and the institution of the feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave of Easter. In line with this, I felt that it was as if it was the Lord’s wish to show His mercy to humanity. It was not something that came to my mind, but rather the relatively recent renewal of a tradition that has however always existed. … It is obvious that today’s world is in need of mercy and compassion, or rather of the capacity for empathy. We are accustomed to bad news, cruel news and the worst atrocities that offend the name and the life of God. The world needs to discover that God is the Father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the way, that condemnation is not the way, because it is the Church herself who at times takes a hard line, and falls into the temptation to follow a hard line and to underline moral rules only; many people are excluded. The image of the Church as a field hospital after a battle comes to mind here: it is the truth, so many people are injured and destroyed! … I believe that this is the time for mercy. We are all sinners, all of us carry inner burdens. I felt that Jesus wanted to open the door to His heart, that the Father wants to show us His innate mercy, and for this reason He sends us the Spirit. … It is the year of reconciliation. On the one hand we see the weapons trade … the murder of innocent people in the cruellest ways possible, the exploitation of people, of children. There is currently a form of sacrilege against humanity, because man is sacred, he is the image of the living God. And the Father says, ‘stop and come to me’”.

In response to the second question on the importance of divine mercy in his life, Pope Francis, who has repeatedly affirmed his awareness of being a sinner, says:

“I am a sinner … I am sure of this. I am a sinner whom the Lord looked upon with mercy. I am, as I said to detainees in Bolivia, a forgiven man. … I still make mistakes and commit sins, and I confess every fifteen or twenty days. And if I confess it is because I need to feel that God’s mercy is still upon me.” Francis recalled that he felt this sensation in a particular way on 21 September 1953, when he felt the need to enter a church and confess to a priest he did not know, and from then his life was changed; he decided to become a priest and his confessor, who was suffering from leukaemia, accompanied him for a year. “He died the following year,” said the Pope. “After the funeral I cried bitterly, I felt totally lost, as if with the fear that God had abandoned me. This was the moment in which I came across God’s mercy, and it is closely linked to my episcopal motto: 21 September is the feast day of St. Matthew, and the Venerable Bede, when speaking of the conversion of St. Matthew, says that Jesus looked at him ‘miserando atque eligendo’. … The literal translation would be ‘pitying and choosing’”.

The third question: “Can the Jubilee of Mercy be an opportunity to rediscover God’s ‘maternity’? Is there an almost ‘feminine’ aspect of the Church that must be valued?”

“Yes”, the Holy Father replies. “God Himself affirms this when He says in the Book of Isaiah that a mother could perhaps forget her child, even a mother can forget, but ‘I will never forsake you’. Here we see the maternal dimension of God. Not everyone understands when we speak about God’s maternity, it is not part of ‘popular’ language – in the good sense of the word – and may seem rather elitist; for this reason I prefer to speak about the tenderness, typical of a mother, God’s tenderness that comes from his innate paternity. God is both father and mother”.

In response to a question on whether the discovery of a more merciful and emotional God, Who is moved to tenderness for mankind, should lead to a change of attitude towards others, Francis says: “Discovering this leads us to have a more tolerant, more patient, more tender attitude. In 1994 during the Synod, in a group meeting, I said that it was necessary to begin a revolution of tenderness … and I continue to say that today the revolution is that of tenderness, because justice derives from this. … The revolution of tenderness is what we must cultivate today as the fruit of this year of mercy: God’s tenderness towards each one of us. Each one of us must say, ‘I am a wretch, but God loves me as I am; so, I must love others in the same way’”.

The writer recalls St. John XXIII’s famous “Sermon to the moon”, in which greeting the faithful one night, he told them to give a caress to their children. “This image became an image of the Church’s tenderness. In what way does the theme of mercy help our Christian communities to convert and renew themselves?”

“When I see the sick, the elderly, a caress comes to me spontaneously. … A caress is a gesture that can be interpreted ambiguously, but it is the first gesture that a mother and father offer a newborn child, this gesture that says ‘I love you, I wish well to you’”.

Finally: “Is there a gesture you intend to make during the Jubilee to show God’s mercy?”

“There will be many gestures, but one Friday each month I will make a different gesture”, the Holy Father concludes.

OPENING OF HOLY DOOR TO BE BROADCAST IN “TOTAL IMMERSION” ULTRA HD

(Vatican Radio) The opening Mass for the Jubilee of Mercy and the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8 will be seen around the world in greater clarity than any other papal event in history. The Centro Televisivo Vaticano (CTV) just announced a major overhaul of the equipment used for its live footage capture, and the opening event of the Jubilee will be broadcast for the first time in ULTRA HD and 4K.

CTV’s OB-8 OB truck has been fully equipped with 4K technology and will feature eight Sony HDC-4300 cameras, a 4K PWS-4400 server and a 4K MVS-7000X switcher.

This will create an “immersion experience” that attempts to capture, deliver and display images in a way that is as close to the performance of the human eye as possible.

The technology was explained at a press conference Tuesday presided over by Msgr. Dario Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications and long-time head of CTV.

“CTV’s mission is to document all of the activities of the Pope and the Holy See and then offer a service that draws television broadcasters from all over the world,” Msgr. Viganò said.

“This requires the highest attention to quality and the need to keep up to date with the latest and most advanced technologies. HDR’s ability to capture reality just as our eyes see it has certainly provided followers and viewers from around the world with a great opportunity to be part of the events of the Holy Father in an even more immersive and engaging way.”